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Ritual Foundations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reconstructs the conceptual framework on which painters based their compositions for Heavenly Court paintings. Heavenly Court paintings are intimately connected to Daoist ritual: The Chinese name of a Heavenly Court painting, chaoyuan tu or chaozhen tu is already an immediate reference to the liturgical foundation of the paintings, because they depict a court ritual, called a chao -audience, which is also the name of the central ritual element in Daoist liturgy. Heavenly Court paintings are found only on locations where Daoist liturgies were performed, either on open-air altars or in the central halls of temple complexes. The interrelationship between painting and liturgy provides us with a great opportunity to investigate some important underlying principles for the composition of Heavenly Court paintings. The investigation focuses on three aspects which should provide the parameters for a conceptual framework: chao -audience ritual, altar layout, and cosmology.

Keywords: chaoyuan tu ; altar layout; chao -audience ritual; Daoist cosmology; Daoist liturgy; Heavenly Court paintings; ritual foundation

10.1163/ej.9789004184909.i-470.15
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004184909.i-470.15
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